THE DANGERS OF ILLEGAL DUMPING
Illegal dumping is the terminology given to describe the action of dumping of large items and quantities of rubbish in public areas including but not limited to roadsides, illegal landfills, bush land, parks, waterways, or private on private land without council or EPA approval. Simply the presence of illegally dumped rubbish encourages other people to illegally dump their rubbish. The most common illegally dumped items in Australia include furniture, packaging and organic waste. Other items that may also be dumped are abandoned cars, construction material, scrap tyres and hazardous waste such as asbestos.
Reasons for Illegal Dumping
There are many reasons why people choose to illegally dump their rubbish. One reason includes people are trying to avoid paying disposal fees, another reason includes people may not have the time or effort to dispose of rubbish the right way.
The Negative Impact of Illegal Dumping
Illegal dumping can pose a danger to our environment and to our health. The impact can be significant as dumped rubbish can introduce contaminants to our bush land, harming our plants and animals as well as blighting our landscape. Illegal dumping can also increase the risk of flooding when waste makes its way and blocks the proper drainage of creeks, run offs and drainage basins. When illegal dumping occurs the potential for recycling is lost as all cleaned up illegal dumping makes its way straight into landfills taking up space and local councils are forced to bear the cost of clean ups which is otherwise passed on to tax payers. The aesthetic value of local communities may be affected by illegal dumping resulting in lowered property prices.
Areas used for illegal dumping may be also accessible to people, especially those more at risk such as the sick, elderly and children, who are more vulnerable to the physical effects of chemical hazards posed by waste. Illegal dumping may also create a breeding ground for rodents, insects and other vermin. Scrap tyres especially create a breeding ground for mosquitos which carry and cause diseases such as encephalitis an inflammation of the brain that can lead to permanent brain damage.
Community Education on Rubbish Removal
Many local communities have adopted strategies to help combat illegal dumping and the hazardous effects it has on the environment and public health. Such initiatives include community education, clean ups and regulatory enforcement. These strategies are designed to educate the community of the impacts of illegal dumping, warn them of the penalties associated with illegal dumping and inform them of ways to safely and legally dump unwanted waste material. Councils also provide a variety of ways their residents can dispose of unwanted material such as through scheduled clean ups and through waste disposal facilities. The extent of these strategies are enforced varies from community to community depending on the extent of the problem. Another initiative adopted by Australians is the approach ‘dob in a dumper’. This approach is to encourage people who see illegal dumping to report the matter to their local council which will be investigated further.
Dispose Your Rubbish Responsibly
Illegal dumping poses a serious danger to public health and the environment, therefore it is extremely important that all individuals dispose of rubbish responsibly by adopting appropriate strategies such as finding out when council clean ups are scheduled, recycling and donating to charity items that can be saved from landfills and by reporting illegal dumping. These approaches lead to a healthier environment and healthier people.
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